- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2002

A youth-outreach program in Missouri expected to spend $273,000 to combat "Goth culture" was among the $20.1 billion that Congress doled out for pet projects in fiscal year 2002, according to the "Pig Book" released today.
The "Pig Book," the annual report on pork projects from Citizens Against Government Waste, calculates the number and dollar total of earmarked projects from parking garages to grants to universities.
The 8,341 "earmarked" projects are 32 percent more than last year's 6,333, and the $20.1 billion appropriated represents an increase of 9 percent over 2001.
Among the other projects funded are a $50,000 tattoo-removal program in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and a $450,000 appropriation to restore chimneys on Cumberland Island in Georgia.
Earmarks are projects that Congress says must be funded; the rest of the appropriations are left up to executive departments and agencies to spend. The Bush administration has been critical of earmarks, arguing that they take away agencies' discretion to spend money properly.
The book's authors say specific earmarks are hurting the nation's ability to fight the war on terrorism.
"Here is a simple math equation that doesn't need federal funds: in fiscal 2001 there was $18.5 billion in pork-barrel spending and Pentagon officials predict an $18 billion shortfall in the defense budget to fight the war on terrorism," the report says.
But John Scofield, spokesman for Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee, said they have made a conscious effort to avoid earmarking counterterrorism funds. He also said earmarks aren't a real problem overall.
"When it comes to the big budget picture, they're small potatoes," he said. "Using [administration] figures, which aren't exactly earmark-friendly, it's about 0.7 percent of the total federal budget. If the goal here is fiscal discipline, you're barking up the wrong tree."
The kings of pork are in the Senate, and it's a bipartisan group, the report says.
The three top states in terms of earmarks-per-capita are Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia and Sens. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat; Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican; and Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, all sit on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Mr. Byrd is the chairman and Mr. Stevens is the top Republican.
By contrast, Florida, home of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, ranks 36th. Wisconsin, the home state of top panel Democrat Rep. David R. Obey, is 28th.
In 2001, the third highest per-capita pork state was Mississippi home state of Sen. Trent Lott, the Republican who was majority leader until last May. Since Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont said he would leave the Republican Party, become an independent and hand control of the Senate to Democrats, Mississippi has fallen to sixth on the list.
On the flip side, South Dakota jumped from ninth to fourth this year, coinciding with the state's senior senator, Tom Daschle, going from minority leader to majority leader, and with Tim Johnson, South Dakota's other Democratic senator, getting a seat on the Appropriations Committee.
"Leadership has its privileges," said David Williams, co-author of the "Pig Book." "We saw a shift, [in] the springtime when Jeffords made the shift, we just saw a lot of the Democrats getting their hands back into it."
Jen Siciliano, a spokeswoman for Mr. Stevens, said the senator had not seen the report, and a spokesman for Mr. Byrd didn't return a phone call.
But when last year's report was released, Mr. Stevens and Mr. Byrd took to the Senate floor to defend themselves.
"I know West Virginia, and what's one man's pork is another man's job," Mr. Byrd said.

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